Hachette UK 'raises the bar'

<p>The profit margin at Hachette Livre UK was broadly in line with French parent company Lagardere&#39;s 11.2% profit margin, according to c.e.o. Tim Hely Hutchinson. The increase was driven by &quot;particularly good years&quot; for the company&#39;s four main trade publishers, he told <em>The Bookseller</em>.</p><p>Hely Hutchinson said that Headline, Orion, Hodder and Little, Brown were boosted by strong Christmas campaigns. &quot;They all made progress and increased their market share,&quot; he added.</p><p>In final results from Lagardere filed yesterday, the group generated recurring EBIT before associates of &euro;636m in 2007, an increase of 22% on the 2006 figure of &euro;521m. The business recorded a &quot;fine performance&quot;, the group said, with earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) up by 9.4%.</p><p>Hely Hutchinson said he was cautiously looking forward to 2008. He added: &quot;Every time we have a good year, it raises the bar for the next. I don&rsquo;t think the economic environment is very healthy and the booksellers are facing difficulties. Quite a lot of it depends on how we perform this<br />Christmas.&quot;<br /><br />In the coming year, the group was advancing with its digital business, Hely Hutchinson said: &quot;As soon as there any e-book reader is launched in the UK, Hachette will have a full array of publishing to go along with it. We have made a big investment in our digital programme and the work is well underway.&quot; Yet he was unconvinced the devices would be an immediate hit: &quot;It will start off with enthusiastic early adopters, but it will be quite a long time before the e-book readers are part of our everyday lives.</p>